Today in Parliament there was an extraordinary exchange over the Parliamentary committee reviewing climate change. Apparently, one un-named political party is making a last minute bid to change its minority report outlining their position on the emissions trading scheme. This caused a flurry of arguments over whether this was allowable.
Although the political party that has changed its position over the last few days wasn't named, Labour MP Charles Chauvel sought leave to table the minority report of the Maori Party. Although he isn't allowed to breach Parliament's rules by naming the political party that is making a last minute change in its position, his action made it clear to everyone who it was. In fact, subsequently another Labour MP Chis Hipkins outed the Maori Party on Facebook.
All this suggests the Maori Party has struck a deal with National to allow National to pass legislation to weaken the emissions trading scheme. This is curious because the Maori Party opposed the previous Government's emissions trading scheme because it was too weak. This is what Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said last year:
"The crux of the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill rests in its name. Fundamentally, the emissions trading scheme is limited by being nothing more than an emissions trading scheme, when what we really require is an emissions reduction programme. The Ma-ori Party knows that how this nation curbs greenhouse gas emissions will define this moment in our history. Meeting our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases is vitally important, but this issue is much more than one of compliance with United Nations goals to cut emissions and to stabilise the climate system. It is far more simple than that. Reducing our emissions is about honouring our commitment to those who have passed on that we will leave this planet in a better state than it is now for those who come after us. The Government acknowledges that this scheme will make almost no difference. It will cut emissions by 2 percent over 10 years, and that will be far short of even our Kyoto commitments. To make the world a better place we need to live differently, and we all need to live differently."
There are universal expectations that the emissions trading scheme is going to be made even weaker than the version the Maori Party slated as "almost making no difference." If so, are they going to vote for the changes?
Last year the Maori Party made a strong call for living differently to make the world a better place. I couldn't agree more. Now they're part of the Government, I'd like to see how they'll put this into practice. Voting to weaken the emissions trading scheme would be a very bad start.